%% Try to avoid adding complainy tropes making generalizations about MOBA players

[[quoteright:300:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/map_of_moba.png]]
[[caption-width-right:300:Typical map of a MOBA. [[MemeticMutation Mid or I feed!]]]]

-> '''Erik:''' Seventeen years of nothing, and they bring us back for a MOBA! Ha, figures.\\
'''Baelog:''' It's not a MOBA, it's a ''hero brawler''!\\
'''Olaf:''' Hero brawler herba heybee, you made that up!\\
'''Erik:''' Nope, but Blizzard sure did!
-->-- VideoGame/TheLostVikings, '''''VideoGame/HeroesOfTheStorm'''''

The Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA), also known as [=ARTS=] (Action Real Time Strategy)[[note]]increasingly rarely due to the rise of FPS or Third-person [=MOBAs=][[/note]] or Hero Brawler, is a relatively new game genre popularized in the first decade of the 21st century. [[TropeMaker The first MOBA game]] was ''Aeon of Strife'', a map for ''VideoGame/{{Starcraft|I}}''. It gained popularity and, when ''VideoGame/WarcraftIII'' with its powerful {{Hero Unit}}s and amazing map editor came out, [[FollowTheLeader spawned a lot of similar maps]] which were referred to as [=AoS=]-style maps. Amongst others there were D-Day, various [=AoS=] direct ports, and ''Defense of the Ancients'', developed by Eul. One of its own spinoffs, ''VideoGame/DefenseOfTheAncientsAllstars'' developed by Guinsoo, became the TropeCodifier by virtue of its astounding popularity, with a non-negligible fraction of ''VideoGame/WarcraftIII'' sales driven ''solely'' by people who wanted to play ''[=DotA=] Allstars''.

The heart of the MOBA genre lies in several basic qualities. First, it is relatively easy to play, being (typically) controlled through a point-and-click RealTimeStrategy interface but giving the player control of ''only one HeroUnit'', with four or five skills, instead of a CommandAndConquerEconomy. In comparison of the other RTS games, this also makes the controllable character feel more unique and individual than just generic characters (which is quite ironic, because as far as this genre's plot goes, it's basically ExcusePlot). The player is assisted by a computer-controlled base and its minions, as well as four (sometimes two) PlayerCharacter teammates, each controlling their own HeroUnit, with the opposition consisting of the same. Second, it has LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters, making it easy to learn but difficult to master; not only is each character unique in its skills and abilities, but the large number of characters results in unique team compositions, with varying levels of synergy between them. Third, the objective is not to rack up enough kills, but rather to destroy the enemy's base. Killing the enemy heroes helps you with this, but is not a necessary step. Finally, CompetitiveBalance dictates that no HeroUnit can ever become powerful enough to win the game single-handedly; each character (or player) is deliberately limited in what elements they can contribute to the victory (crowd control, damage output, tanking, healing, etc), which is especially important once the teams start aggregating for five-on-five brawls. The result is a high emphasis on skill and teamwork, where communication and intelligent gameplay inevitably win out.

[[folder:More detail!]]
The genre is largely defined by its setup: each team (typically consisting of 3 or 5 players) has a single base which they must protect at all costs. If their base is destroyed, [[InstantWinCondition they instantly lose]]. This base also serves as a center of operations, containing a shop, a "safe zone"[[note]]usually the spawn point protected by a PurposefullyOverpowered turret[[/note]], a rapid healing location for heroes and the point of return for [[WarpWhistle "recall"]] spells. This base is protected by a series of "towers", defensive buildings set out in lines radiating away from the base. These towers deal considerable damage to any enemy which comes within range and grant allied players vision over that portion of the battlefield. In most games, there are 2-4 rows of these "towers" protecting each base, resulting in the towers gradually moving closer together the nearer they are to the base [[note]]they become more easily defended the more towers are lost at the cost of map control[[/note]].

As the game progresses, AI-controlled minions (sometimes called "lane creeps" or just "creeps") spawn at each team's base and proceed along pre-programmed paths ("lanes"), traveling from allied tower to allied tower before assaulting the enemy towers. These minions will attack any enemy they come across such as opposing minions, opposing towers and opposing players. There are almost always fewer lanes than there are players - three player games typically have two lanes, while five player games typically have three lanes.

In-between these lanes is a region known as "the jungle", containing un-allied units (referred to as "neutral creeps" or "monsters") more powerful than minions which attack any unit from either team they come across - however, as these units remain in the jungle, they almost only ever encounter the players[[note]]coming into contact with minions is generally attributed to GoodBadBugs[[/note]].

Many games also include several powerful monsters in the jungle, weaker than a player character but dangerous to a badly wounded hero. Killing these monsters give [[StatusBuff some bonus]] for a short amount of time. One or two monsters in the jungle which are considerably more powerful than any hero, requiring coordination from the entire team to take down but grant large team-wide awards for killing them.

Each player controls a single [[HeroUnit "hero" character unit]]. This character is considerably more powerful than any minion and the normal creeps in the jungle but less powerful than any tower, meaning it is easy for them to kill minions but assaulting a tower on their own is suicidal. Every hero unit has a unique set of abilities and statistics. A team is usually only allowed a single copy of any given hero. As a result, teams have a diverse membership of heroes, each filling different roles.

Hero units in the game grow inherently more powerful over time. Towers are either exempted from this or grow at a slower rate, meaning that the towers will [[DeathOfAThousandCuts inevitably be brought down by damage from both the minions and heroes]]. Player heroes gain power by killing enemy minions, neutral creeps, towers and enemy heroes. In many games, [[LeakedExperience merely being around a killed enemy unit]] gives a hero ExperiencePoints and/or money, but directly killing a creep will either give them a resource they don't gain passively (usually a StatusBuff) or more of that resource - usually money. This mechanic makes up the core of the gameplay. The opposing heroes want to do the same thing, trying to kill the allied units in order to accumulate experience and money[[note]]some games allow [[BadBoss killing of your own minions]] to deny the enemy their rewards[[/note]]. Due to the lanes, allied minions will always go directly into contact with enemy minions and there are only a limited number of neutral monsters in the jungle to kill, forcing players to inevitably come into conflict with each other.

This conflict is accentuated by three additional factors. First, heroes are extremely valuable to kill, granting large amounts of money and experience. In many games[[note]]but increasingly being dropped due to the popularity of VideoGame/LeagueOfLegends[[/note]], this is doubly harmful as the hero who is killed outright loses money. Secondly, if an enemy hero is killed or forced to retreat, there is no opposition while you kill enemy minions, racking up money and experience. This also denies the enemy hero the opportunity to do the same, damaging their ability to accumulate power and resources. Thirdly, if a lane is left undefended, it is easier to "push" the lane (leading allied minions in an attack on an enemy tower)[[note]]this is very important because towers usually preferentially target minions, allowing the hero to besiege the tower in relative anonymity[[/note]].

As a result, a great deal of the interplay between the players and the teams comes from risk and reward; being more aggressive may make it easier to kill lots of enemy units, drive off enemy heroes, accumulate money more quickly, and damage enemy towers, but it also may leave you more vulnerable to counterattacks from enemy heroes, and may leave you vulnerable to an ambush from a hero who is not in a lane but is instead in "the jungle", who might emerge from the jungle to attack you at any moment. It should also be pointed out that the InstantWinCondition involves demolishing the enemy’s central building; killing enemy heroes is a useful step in this direction, but only a temporary one (due to respawn timers). It's entirely possible to "backdoor" the enemy base by dodging the enemy team entirely and going straight to their core; likewise, it's possible to "team-wipe" the opposition, killing all five of them with no losses to your own side, and still not accomplish anything useful while they're dead.

As heroes accumulate experience, they typically passively gain extra HitPoints and Mana, as well as deal additional damage, but also usually gain other benefits as well, such as gaining access to new abilities or more powerful versions of the abilities they already possess; in many games, the player gets to choose which ability to make stronger at each level. However, the really critical resource tends to be money; while levels are very important, money allows a hero to buy items or other upgrades, which make them more powerful and sometimes grant them additional speed or special abilities they would otherwise lack. Unlike experience, money can only be spent when the hero returns to base (or respawns at base after their death), meaning that heroes must periodically retreat from the front lines in order to buy items or upgrades at their base, leaving temporary holes in their teams' defenses, but making them more powerful and better able to kill enemy minions and fight off enemy heroes.

Many [=MOBAs=] have a few well-defined roles for heroes:

* The Carry: A character, typically a GlassCannon, who outputs a lot of damage through basic attacks. They are named after their responsibility for "carrying" their team to victory in the late game after their early-game frailty has been mitigated. By the end-game, these characters may be capable of killing multiple enemy heroes in a single fight or bringing down a tower quickly. Carries typically rely on the MagikarpPower trope for balancing, allowing you to throw them off their game in the opening minutes of the match. Some carries are also considered "assassins", who are focused on killing off specific enemy targets.
* The Caster: Frequently acts as a secondary carry of sorts. Where the Carry puts out DeathOfAThousandCuts, Casters tend to be reliant on their abilities to do bursts of damage, but they can also place [[StandardStatusEffects debilitating penalties upon enemy heroes]] or [[HerdHittingAttack control the battlefield]] in such a way to make it harder for the enemy to bring their power to bear. Like the carry, these characters tend to start out weak but end the game with a great deal of power. Unlike carries, they may be poor at destroying towers due to their main damage coming from their abilities, which (in some games) towers are immune to.
* The Tank, a character whose purpose is to draw enemy aggression. They're typically good at forcing enemies to fight with them, either stunning, immobilizing, trapping, pulling in, or taunting enemies into attacking them. This allows their teammates to kill them while they are otherwise occupied. Simultaneously, the Tank needs to be able to take a lot of punishment.
* The Support, a character whose job is to grant some sort of buff or healing ability to the rest of their team, keeping important characters (such as the caster and the carry) alive, helping characters stay "in-lane" longer despite taking damage, and otherwise boosting the abilities of their team. In five-player games, these players tend to be the one forced to double-up in a lane with one of their teammates and allow their teammate to accumulate the bulk of the money, forcing them to find other ways to be useful which don't involve them having high durability or damage. Dedicated support players are often called upon to master the largest variety of characters, as the "support" role can also involve offensive operations such as running interference for the damage-dealers or even setting up opportunities for them.
* The Jungler, a character whose job it is to wander around in the jungle killing neutral creeps. Unlike other heroes, these characters may fill any of the other roles on their team (though usually not support), and also are usually expected to act as assassins, trying to gang-kill ("gank") enemy heroes - not only the enemy jungler, but also the enemies in lanes. They also are usually expected to stand in for allied heroes when they're killed or forced to retreat from a lane in order to keep the lane covered at all times. In many games, the jungler is also expected to act as reconnaissance, either directly keeping an eye out for the enemy jungler to ensure that they don't ambush their allies, or leaving "wards" around, which are sentry-type units which may or may not be possible for the enemy to attack but which grant sight to allies, giving them warning if an enemy is trying to sneak up on them.

Aside of these generalized roles, MOBA characters and items can have similarities a lot they make up their own archetypes within the genre. Check [[Analysis/MultiplayerOnlineBattleArena here]] for such occurrences.

Late in the game, after heroes have accumulated significant amounts of experience and money, they will typically take a more aggressive stance and start actively trying to destroy enemy towers, as well as try and gang up and destroy the special, more powerful monsters in the jungle to gain team-wide bonuses; frequently, this forces the enemy team to deploy against them in response. These situations where whole teams come into conflict are known as "team fights", and can frequently vastly shift the balance of power as multiple heroes from one team might be killed and forced to wait to respawn at base; a decisive team fight, where an entire team is trapped and eliminated, can frequently cost the eliminated team the game. Many games increase the amount of time a hero is forced to wait to respawn after they are killed later in the game, making such losses even more painful.

While enemy heroes may have their own HitPoints, the health of your team as a whole is measured in its buildings. The core building, remember, is the InstantWinCondition, and destroying it by any means, at any time, results in victory. Additionally, as you lose your outer towers, you lose map control; the FogOfWar spreads, giving the enemy team more opportunities to ambush you. Finally, within your base are typically important buildings which, if destroyed, actually unlock ''extra {{mook}}s for the enemy team'', tilting the game further in their favor.

UnstableEquilibrium is a big factor in [=MOBAs=]. Early-game mistakes can result in one team or another gaining an early advantage, which makes it easier for them to win later confrontations, giving them a larger advantage with every victory. As a result, games can often be decided long before either base is in even remote danger of destruction. Numbers are also critically important; at competitive levels of play, teams will often disengage after losing only ''one'' of their members, because their absence is already enough to virtually guarantee victory to the enemy team. NeverSplitTheParty in a MOBA. Finally, because hero characters are (deliberately) limited in what they can bring to the table, a lack of teamwork can spell disaster. You might play a perfect game, execute everything correctly, avoid needless damage, get a ton of kills... and still lose, because someone on your team dropped their responsibilities. Even worse, if your team doesn’t plan to do what you want them to, you might not be able to play your game ''at all''; you may be forced to use your character to do things s/he isn’t good at or even ''is designed to be bad at'', leaving a sour taste in one’s mouth—even if said non-cooperative teammates go on to win the game (''especially'' if). The end result is that people can get ''really'' angry when playing a MOBA.

MOBA communities are infamous: they [[SuffersNewbiesPoorly Suffer Newbies Poorly]] and blast [[IneffectualLoner weak team players]]. Many of these games have devoted communities to which the game in question is very much SeriousBusiness, and due to the inherent difficulties in measuring the contribution of individual players on teams, matchmaking between individual players for pick-up games tends to lead to much more varied skill levels of players on a given team than for games with more individually-tailored rating systems, especially in games with five or more players on a side. This, plus the basics of human psychology, results in a recipe for {{GIFT}} and {{Griefing}}, and all of the DOTA clones, due to the relatively long matches and similar game design, suffer from this to a great extent.

To mitigate the problem of having highly competitive people of variable skill levels, some of the newer [=MOBAs=] have tried to adopt different systems with varying levels of success, either by making it easier for the losing team to catch up or by making it so that matches end more quickly when one team gains a large advantage; both solutions are intended to give players less time to be unhappy with each other and to spend less time playing games where the outcome is already clear. In addition, most if not all the current [=MOBAs=] have some sort of player score-based matchmaking system, where all players have a personal score -- usually known as "[[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elo_rating_system Elo]]" from the old days of ''VideoGame/LeagueOfLegends'' or "matchmaking ranking" (MMR) from present day ''VideoGame/Dota2'' -- and joining the matchmaking queue will theoretically match you only with players with a score similar to yours, in order to guarantee that teams have a roughly even chance of winning.
[[/folder]]

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!!Games in this genre:
[[index]]
!!! The Progenitor
The games that started it all.

* ''VideoGame/HerzogZwei'' (A UsefulNotes/SegaGenesis game that contains elements of team fights that would inspire the creators of the game below, particularly the 'Fight till you destroy enemy base', and 'Your hero always respawn after death')
* ''VideoGame/AeonOfStrife'' (VideoGame/{{Starcraft|I}} GameMod, where the setting and concept of the game is first defined (control single heroes, three lanes, etc))

!!! The Grandfather
The game that eventually grew too popular and launched the genre.

* ''VideoGame/DefenseOfTheAncients'' (''VideoGame/WarcraftIII'' GameMod, improving further of the concepts of Aeon of Strife and having its own dedicated patch team to ensure the game continues as a success. Has many iterations until the ''All Stars'' subseries becomes the standard map.)

!!! The Juggernauts
Currently considered the cream of the crop and the most played games, more likely to get a lot of streamers on the video or rated as the best [=MOBAs=] to date, and more likely to have E-Sport presence.

* ''VideoGame/LeagueOfLegends'' (A MOBA developed by several of the team who worked on ''[=DotA=] Allstars'' (including Guinsoo) and currently rated as the single most-played PC game in the world, thanks to being the first to come up with matchmaking system, simplified mechanics to attract the casuals more and an actually deep lore to keep the fans attached to the characters on more personal levels, and since it has less competitors during the time it took stride.)
* ''VideoGame/{{Dota 2}}'' (Sequel of ''VideoGame/DefenseOfTheAncients'' created by both Valve Software and one of the original's team, [=IceFrog=]. Aside of polishing up the looks, it revamps the heroes into more original characters rather than copy pastes of Blizzard's properties, making it a more standalone game. Also retains the extremely high learning curve of the original)
* ''VideoGame/{{Smite}}'' (Made by Hi-Rez Studios, who made ''VideoGame/GlobalAgenda''. Notable for putting the action in over-the-shoulder 3rd person for a more action-packed experience, while still sticking faithfully to the genre formula. Based around mythologies from all over the word where you take control as gods such as Thor, Hades, Ra and many more. Also available for PS4 and UsefulNotes/XboxOne)
* ''VideoGame/HeroesOfNewerth'' (Originally developed as a direct port of Dota All-stars to a new engine, since the Warcraft 3 engine was woefully out of date, it has over the years grown to be different in many respects. Most notably the larger part of heroes developed directly by S2 Games but also several nuances have been changed that Creator/{{Valve|Software}} would not dare touch for fear of [[TheyChangedItNowItSucks upsetting fans of the original mod]]. However, as of time, it is starting to fade in popularity.)
* ''VideoGame/HeroesOfTheStorm'' (A MOBA made with Heroes and characters from [[Creator/BlizzardEntertainment Blizzard's]] [[Videogame/{{Warcraft}} popular]] [[Videogame/{{Starcraft}} franchises]] [[Videogame/{{Diablo}} and]] [[VideoGame/{{Overwatch}} properties]] (and [[Videogame/TheLostVikings at least one of their older classics]] so far), crossing over and battling in new and original maps, each with their own objectives and twists. It features a shorter average game length and removes items entirely in favor of "Talents". Was originally called Blizzard Dota, and then Blizzard All-Stars, before settling on the current title.)

!!!The Fledging Ones

These MOBA are very much playable and have a chance to be a fan favorite, except they tend to lay kind of low, either not attracting E-Sport scenes, or they're not out of alpha/beta phase yet. But they still live.

* ''VideoGame/ArenaOfFate'': An upcoming game being developed by Crytek, featuring characters from mythology (Fenrir, Achilles) fairy tails (Red Ridding Hood, Alice) and history (Nikola Tesla, Joan of Arc).
* ''VideoGame/AtlasReactor'' (A TurnBasedStrategy game based around ''VideoGame/FrozenSynapse'' (or ''TabletopGame/{{Diplomacy}}'', for the tabletop enthusiasts)-style simultaneous turns planned in advance.)
* ''{{VideoGame/Awesomenauts}}'' (A 2D Sidescrolling game following the [=DotA=] formula)
* ''VideoGame/{{AirMech}}'' (Also a RealTimeStrategy in the vein of ''VideoGame/HerzogZwei''.)
* ''VideoGame/{{BattleTanks}}'': A less well known ''Warcraft III'' Game Mod where the heroes are tanks.
* ''VideoGame/BloodlineChampions'', which does not follow [=DotA's=] formula at all
* ''VideoGame/ChaosOnline'', dubbed as 'Korean DOTA' at first, but has more similarities to VideoGame/LeagueOfLegends (though the map is designed like southeast-northwest as opposed to the typical southwest-northeast). Gains its notice when not only they feature crossover from Japanese games, so far ''VideoGame/GuiltyGear'', ''VideoGame/BlazBlue'' and ''VideoGame/ValkyriaChronicles'', it is also imported to Japan (under the name ''Chaos Heroes Online''), dubbed with NamesToKnowInAnime, and those crossover characters get RoleReprisal by their original actors. The English version lived under closed beta, managed by Aeria Games, and ''yes, the crossover characters get carried over'', until Aeria Games closed it down. However, it's still going on in Japan and Korea.
* ''Videogame/{{Clonk}}'' scenarios "Tower Attack" (focusing on the base and mook elements) and "Keepers" (with less RealTimeStrategy elements and more action combat and RPGElements; freely combinable skills depending on class instead of fixed skillsets).
* ''VideoGame/{{Crasher}}''
* ''VideoGame/DungeonDefenders'' 2, a sequel to the original VideoGame/DungeonDefenders which [[WhatCouldHaveBeen was]] going to have a Dota-like mode with many heroes and a third person camera, but was scrapped in favor of sticking to the original formula
* ''VideoGame/FatesForever'', a MOBA made exclusively for tablets (as of the time of this writing, iOS only).
* ''VideoGame/FatPrincess'', a hybrid of the genre with top-down ActionGame.
* ''VideoGame/{{Gigantic}}'', a third person MOBA by Motiga with a distinct cel shaded art style. Gigantic eschews the normal jungle based combat with various side arenas which spawn minions for the team that controls them, as well as being based around the gigantic beasts who replace the normal crystal at the end.
* ''VideoGame/GuardiansOfMiddleEarth'', featuring characters from Franchise/TolkiensLegendarium.
* ''VideoGame/HeroesOfOrderAndChaos'': a MOBA for your phone!
* ''VideoGame/MondayNightCombat'', a hybrid of the genre with Third Person Shooter.
** Its sequel, ''Super Monday Night Combat'', follows the formula more closely, but still blends it with a Third Person Shooter.
* ''VideoGame/{{Paragon}}'' A ThirdPersonShooter-MOBA much like ''VideoGame/MondayNightCombat'', made by Creator/EpicGames of the VideoGame/UnrealTournament fame, as well as running on the Unreal 4 Engine.
* ''VideoGame/PrimeWorld'' (An upcoming game that seeks to integrate Facebook and the ability to play support with a Zuma-like mini-game if a player isn't that good with [=DotA=]-style games)
* ''VideoGame/RealmOfTheTitans'' (Was supported by Creator/AeriaGames for about a year or two, support in the US has been dropped, but continues to be played in East Asia)
* ''VideoGame/SinsOfADarkAge'' (An upcoming game made by [[VideoGame/SinsofASolarEmpire Ironclad Games]] that mixes things up by introducing randomly selected quests during the match, each of which comes with a unique reward in addition to building an overall quest completion reward list. Up to 5 quests can occur per match, with a current pool of 10 to select from.
* '' [[VideoGame/StrifeMOBA Strife]]'', a MOBA developed by the same people who brought you Heroes of Newerth. While introducing player customization such as custom recipes, the game is also balanced to reduce the distinction between roles by giving shared creep bounty, adequate scaling to all heroes, and even removing wards.
* ''VideoGame/SolsticeArena'': a trend-breaker in several ways, being published by Zynga (!) exclusively for [=iStuff=] (!!). It's described as a "speed MOBA" and does away with {{mook}}s entirely.
* ''VideoGame/StormOfTheImperialSanctum'' (''VideoGame/{{StarCraft II}}'' GameMod)
* ''VideoGame/TidesOfBlood'' (Another ''VideoGame/WarcraftIII'' GameMod)
* ''VideoGame/VainGlory'' (A MOBA based around destroying the other team's Vain Crystal, surprisingly taking over the Tablet/Android scenes in a surprising pace and starts to have its own solid e-sport scene, which might make this game join the ranks of the MOBA Juggernauts above)
* ''VideoGame/{{Vorp}}'' (An upcoming [[RecycledInSPACE Space MOBA]] game)
* ''VideoGame/TheWitcherBattleArena'', a free-to-play game based in ''Franchise/TheWitcher'' universe

!!!Shut Down MOBA

The genre turns out to be a very harsh competition between producers, so there are some that ended up having their plugs pulled. For whatever reason. Some of them managed to make themselves known before being put down though.

* ''VideoGame/AdventureTimeBattleParty'': A free-to-play game featuring characters from the show ''WesternAnimation/AdventureTime''. Was shut down in May of 2017 due to support for Unity games being dropped, as well as server issues.
* ''VideoGame/DarkNexusArena'': A ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'' MOBA game. Cancelled in 2016.
* ''Videogame/{{Dawngate}}'' (An fleeting game by a new company called Waystone Games that changes things by removing the standard middle lane in favor of a massive jungle, and adding "Resource Nodes", which are automatically mined by minions when captured and give resources to the team. While it became something of a fan favorite, EA say decided to shut down Waystone Games and closed the Dawngate along with it.)
* ''VideoGame/{{Demigod}}'' (A particularly high-budget attempt at the genre, with incredible graphics and sound and a lot of creative new mechanics; sadly it failed to get off the ground and died in short order)
* ''VideoGame/InfiniteCrisis'': A MOBA set in the DC Universe, with the premise of numerous alternate universes colliding. [[TooGoodToLast Its creator, Turbine, announced that it'll be shut down at August 2015, six months after its release.]]
* ''VideoGame/OrcsMustDieUnchained'' originally had a Siege mode that mixed MOBA-style action with the TowerDefense gameplay of the previous games, but was eventually removed due to unpopularity to focus more on the [=PvE=] aspect of the game.
* ''VideoGame/RiseOfImmortals'' (Lasted around 2-3 years, had a short relaunch as [[FunWithAcronyms Battle for Graxia]], but the service was cancelled in June 2013 )
* ''VideoGame/UniversalMonstersOnline'' (a MassiveMultiplayerCrossover starring Universal Horror monsters, has been discontinued as of 2013)
* ''Warhammer Online: Wrath of Heroes'' (A game that ''was'' being made by Bioware, did moderately well, but failed to meet expectations, and was canceled before it left beta)

[[/index]]
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!!List of tropes prominent in the genre:

* AdaptationDisplacement: [=DotA=]: Allstars is more popular and well-known than any of its predecessors. Very few people know about Aeon of Strife or Eul's [=DotA=]. Likewise, Guinsoo's tenure at the helm of Allstars is more historical compared to Ice Frog's tenure, due to Ice Frog maintaining CompetitiveBalance.
* AscendedGlitch: some of Warcraft III engine limits and glitches made it into metagame and are copied in other games. Notably, the concept of killing your own friendly creeps to "deny" XP and gold from the enemy.
* BossBattle: The heroes may be considered Bosses. In addition, some [=MOBAs=] also include a powerful Neutral enemy which is difficult to face alone, but usually yields a powerful reward ([[VideoGame/DefenseOfTheAncients like the]] [[VideoGame/{{Dota2}} ability to]] [[AutoRevive revive from death once]]).
* BribingYourWayToVictory: The most common business model for these games is a [[DownplayedTrope downplayed]] version of this: players get access to a small portion of the roster of playable characters, which regularly rotates. Characters can also be unlocked permanently by buying them with in-game currency, but this often takes enormous amounts of grinding (especially for the newest characters, which usually have an inflated price tag when they are first released). If you want to play as someone you don't have unlocked but don't feel like grinding for days (possibly weeks if the game is especially stingy with its currency rewards), you'll have to cough up the cash. Some games also offer a special bundle which instantly unlocks every current and future character at a reduced price. This is not as bad as it may sound, as all characters are generally meant to be roughly equal in power, so having more of them to pick from does not always grant you an advantage so long as the game's balance is good enough.
* CantCatchUp: Players intend to invoke this. In many [=MOBAs=], there are many heroes who can't do much after a certain point in the game thanks due to lower scaling abilities/stat growth. In addition, by then, heroes who succeed in getting enough gold and experience [[MagikarpPower will start to painfully maim their past predators]]
* CastOfSnowflakes: This is a standard feature of this genre. The characters have to be distinct and easily-identified in a chaotic teamfight.
* CharacterTiers: These are frequently debated by the various communities and monitored closely by the developers; due to the competitive nature of these games, heroes are frequently made more or less powerful in order to bring them into better balance with one another, with varying levels of success. Some heroes are generically strong, some can be used in multiple roles on a team, some excel at specific roles, and some may be [[CripplingOverSpecialization useful for exactly one thing]] and completely useless otherwise. The tiers change frequently in many games due to constant small adjustments to various heroes, with older heroes tending to settle out to relatively stable positions while newer heroes tend to be more varied in usefulness as they are rebalanced as players learn how to use them to deadly effect, or counter them and render them almost entirely useless.
* ComebackMechanic:
** In many games, if you kill a Hero who is in the middle of a KillStreak, you get a big Gold bonus, not to mention a huge psychological boost. However, this is all too frequently [[UnstableEquilibrium subverted]].
** See also the various other metrics of success. New players typically assume that leading in killscore equates to victory, and it certainly does up your chances... but "CS" (creep score), the number of {{mook}}s you've killed--and thus the ''amount of Gold'' you have--is critical too, because that results in better items. The number of demolished towers are also important, because it lowers the enemy's map control and makes it harder for them to farm safely. Finally, there's typically some sort of BonusBoss (Roshan in the original ''[=DotA=]'') that grants some sort of [[LastDiscMagic mega-buff]] when slain. In the semi-final round of the 2013 ''VideoGame/LeagueOfLegends'' world championship, a team that was behind in kills ''2 to 1'' nonetheless managed to keep equal in Gold and items, and snatch said mega-buff. It was enough to turn the game in their favor.
** The biggest ComebackMechanic, though, is the way respawn timers scale with level. The longer you've been playing the match, the longer it takes for slain heroes to respawn. This can create very long periods of time in which your team is under-strength in comparison to the enemy team. In fact, teams who have been winning the entire game have been known to lose the match by engaging in a team fight, losing said team fight by any margin whatsoever, and being unable to stop the enemy team as they steamroll their way through the gap.
* CompetitiveBalance: you can have {{Physical God}}s and {{Badass Normal}}s in one setting, but they must be equal in power.
* {{Cooldown}}s: Your abilities will almost always have a cooldown period after being used. In some games, the most powerful ultimate abilities may have several minutes of cooldown, while more arcade-y games may have only a few seconds at most.
* DeathIsCheap: double-subverted. As mentioned, your hero respawns endlessly and will continue to do so for as long as the match goes on; you never have to worry about getting locked out of the match. Having said that, dying is literally the absolute worst thing you can ever do in a match (short of [[TheMole dying on purpose to hand the game to the enemy]]), because your team is 20% weaker until you come back. (And that's before we get into funky math about how much further the enemy team got ahead while you were gone.) While it is extremely difficult to play a serious match without ever dying, that is nonetheless the standard you are expected to play to.
* [[FanNickname Detractor Nickname]]: Haters prefer calling the genre "Aeon Strife-Styled Fortress Assault Game Going On Two Sides", a not-inaccurate description that has the amusing side-effect of [[FunWithAcronyms shortening to "ASSFAGGOTS"]].
* DifficultButAwesome: Sure, it can take a long time to adjust to even the basic mechanics of the game, even longer to get a firm grasp on the flow of the game, but if you can get past those (and the community), [=MOBAs=] can be a very rewarding experience for some.
* DynamicEntry: Pretty much every MOBA has at least one character that can use "stealth" or turn him/herself invisible before landing the first attack. Or a character that leaps so high in the sky and then instantly teleports to a certain far distance while generating a ShockwaveStomp on landing, usually nicknamed as the '(insert relevant thing here) Drop'
* ExcusePlot: Some games just think "Pick these people, now go fight."
* FollowTheLeader: The standard 5-on-5 three-lane map described above is the most common setup for maps. However, this is becoming increasingly rare, as more and more games try different layouts, sometimes even having multiple different maps.
* ForcedLevelGrinding: 'Laning' and 'Jungling' are the prime sources of ExperiencePoints for essential skills and gold for key items, even with the much larger individual bounties for hero kills.
* GameplayAndStorySegregation: If the game has a backstory, expect it to have little to no bearing on the actual gameplay. Characters who are mortal enemies lore-wise will happily fight side-by-side if you pick one of them and a teammate picks the other.
* ItemCrafting: Introduced in [=DotA=]: Allstars. Everything is sold in the shop, but high-tier items are built out of mid-tier items, which themselves might be built out of low-tier items. This is meaningful because ''War3'' only gave heroes 6 inventory slots. Forcing you to save up for the InfinityPlusOneSword would basically doom your team to failure, since anyone who went for an InfinityMinusOneSword would have it half a game earlier--and that edge, tiny though it seems, matters ''a lot''. Hence item crafting, allowing you to suck less by building two -1 Swords and combining them into the +1 later.
* IThoughtItMeant: Prior to the naming of this genre, it was a common sight to see people refer to these as TowerDefense games.
* LimitBreak: the ultimate spell which is more powerful and unique than any other spells, and it can be afforded by reaching a certain level.
* LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters: [=MOBAs=] are expected to have a dozen unique characters '''''minimum''''' when they first launch, and often end up with several times that number as new ones are patched in. The biggest games in the genre have over a hundred each!
* MonkeyKingLite: Due to the genre's popularity in China, most games have a playable Monkey King in some form. If it's not a flat out playable character based on Sun Wukong (or Wukong himself being part of the roster), a character will have a skin based on the Monkey King.
* OneManArmy:
** DownplayedTrope for the players. Certainly the average playable character is this compared to the average (unseen) denizen of the gameworld, but compared to other playables, a character may only become a One Man Army if they get a massive advantage over the other side in the early game.
** If the game has a BonusBoss, it will usually qualify, requiring multiple characters to take down.
* PickUpGroup
* PlayTheGameSkipTheStory: Being a multiplayer game; whenever a game attempts to have a plot, it's ignored.
* SeriousBusiness: This is par for the course in ''any'' PvP game, but practically a genre trait in MOBA games.
* SillinessSwitch: Many [=MOBAs=] have cosmetic skins which can turn a serious character into a walking joke, such as [[VideoGame/LeagueOfLegends Dunkmaster Darius]], [[VideoGame/{{Smite}} Such Cold Skadi]], and [[VideoGame/HeroesOfTheStorm Kandy King Muradin]].
* SuffersNewbiesPoorly: Some people who treat you like crap when you're starting might be perfectly reasonable if you play them after getting better.
* TotalPartyKill: Depends on the game. There are [[VideoGame/LeagueOfLegends "Aced!"]], [[VideoGame/{{Smite}} "Deicide!"]] or [[VideoGame/HeroesOfTheStorm "Enemy Team Dominated!"]], or [[VideoGame/{{Dota 2}} RAMPAGE!]]
* UrExample: ''VideoGame/HerzogZwei''
* WeakTurretGun: DoubleSubverted by the towers. Early-mid game towers are very dangerous and can kill heroes in only a few hits, but they don't scale according to hero levels, so past a certain point towers stop being a formidable threat. Their main Late-Game use is as glorified stealth detectors. However, generally played entirely straight and justified gameplay-wise with some heroes who may be able to summon turret guns.
* YouAreFat: {{Subverted}}. In this genre, "fat" is almost always a compliment: someone who dies repeatedly is said to be "feeding" the enemy as this grants them large amounts of resources, so calling someone fat means that they were on the receiving end of this feeding and are now an extremely dangerous threat. This only applies to carries, though, if it's a support who somehow gets fat, while it's still not an insult, the support is probably going to get berated for being fat while the carry is being skinny and becoming TheLoad.
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-> '''Baelog:''' [[TheStinger Ugh, you guys are so getting us fired, do you know that?]]